‘Global Diasporas’, state racism and the economy: comment

I left this comment on an Irish Times piece published today titled ‘Global Diaspora Forum can help drive State’s recovery’

I find the idea of a national ‘diaspora’ troubling, to say the least, and it is especially troubling that Ireland should be given the accolade of ‘thought leader’ on such a matter, particularly when it shares such an accolade with the State of Israel.

Let us contemplate what ‘diaspora’ (meaning, scattered) entails in the context of Israel. It entails citizenship of Israel for Jews around the world, and entails the fiction that Jews around the world were ‘scattered’ from the territory of Israel in the first instance.

This is a biblical fiction, with zero foundation in historical fact. But this biblical fiction is used to justify conferring political rights to Californians and New Yorkers and Russians over people -Palestinians- whose right of return to the place of their birth – Palestine, the land to which the State of Israel lays claim – is systematically denied by the State of Israel, as is the history of their violent expulsion.

Thus the notion of the diaspora as it relates to the State of Israel is a fundamentally racist concept, since it holds that any Jew from anywhere in the world can be a member of the diaspora, but not any non-Jew who was born in the territory claimed by the State of Israel. It is worth noting that Hillary Clinton, a supporter of the initiative written about here, is also a supporter of Israeli state racism, and of the extreme and murderous violence used to uphold it.

Israel’s case should therefore enjoin us to ask: who is included in the Irish diaspora, and who is not? There is no answer to this question that does not entail the application of racial-biological criteria, since Ireland’s citizenship laws now distinguish between people born in the territory of Ireland to Irish parents, and those whose parents are not Irish. Given this, behind the invitation to celebrate of the idea of the diaspora is an invitation to accept that the State may enforce racial-biological criteria in order to determine those people to be conferred social, economic, political and human rights, and ought to be privileged and celebrated for it, and those people who have no such rights, and who will be oppressed, vilified and deported for it. All in the service of ‘economic recovery’. But whose economy?

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